When you have a conversation about the best goalkeepers in the history of Mexican soccer, many will surely mention the name Oswaldo Sanchez. Considered one of the best in recent times, Sanchez will play his final game with the Mexican national team on Tuesday night in an international friendly against the all-mighty Brazil.
Though at times controversial for his actions, Oswaldo has been an idol both for the Mexican national team and for the various clubs he has played with during his career. Coming out of the prestigious youth academy of Atlas, Oswaldo made his Primera Division debut with Los Zorros in 1993, and played with Atlas for the next three years. After his time with Atlas, he was sold to one of the biggest teams in Mexico, Club America. It was with America that he began to make a name for himself, catching the full attention of the national team scouts. His play at America led to his first call up to Mexico's national team in 1996.
Though Oswaldo had many remarkable performances with Club America, it wasn't until he made the move to Chivas de Guadalajara that he entered the best years of his career. Sanchez played with Guadalajara from 1999 to 2007, winning a Primera Division title with Chivas in 2006. In 2003, Sanchez won the CONCACAF Gold Cup with Mexico, and was awarded the "best goalkeeper" award for the tournament. From 2003 to 2008, Sanchez was a constant figure in the net for Mexico, holding the number one goalkeeper spot for the national team during this time period.
One of his highlights of his career was his performance in the 2005 FIFA Confederations Cup in Germany. Mexico attracted international attention for Oswaldo's outstanding saves between the posts, and he ended the tournement wiith the "best goalkeeper" award. He was part of three World Cup teams (1998, 2002, & 2006), but was only a starter for the 2006 World Cup in Germany. There his performance was good enough to earn him the award for 3rd best goalkeeper in the tournament. After the 2006 World Cup, Oswaldo began to gain international attention from other clubs around the world, and was linked with teams in Spain, Germany, and even Brazil.
In 2006 Sanchez accomplished one of his career professional goals, winning the Apertura 2006 Championship with Chivas. The next year Oswaldo made the move to his current club, Santos Laguna, and in 2008 led Santos to the Clausura Championship. In many interviews, Oswaldo states that he wishes to one day return to Chivas. It's a club that he has always embraced, and many Chivas fans still consider him an idol of the team. With the recent growth of younger goalkeepers like Guillermo Ochoa, Jesus Corona, and Jonathan Orozco, Oswaldo himself has decided to step aside from the national team and give others an opportunity in such an important position.
Oswaldo Sanchez can be considered one of the top goalkeepers in Mexico's history along with legendary keepers like Antonio Carbajal and Jorge Campos. The game against Brazil will be in front of his current home crowd in Torreon, the home of Santos Laguna. He has reached 99 international caps with Mexico, and this game against Brazil will be his 100th, ending a fantastic career of great performances with the Mexican National Team.